An inspired meal for foodie adventurers willing to be surprised and a welcoming setting in one of Paris’ most desirable neighborhoods made L’Astrance worth a return trip.

Overall Impression We decided to try L’Astrance, named for a wildflower, after an acquaintance from a top Parisian restaurant recommended it as an up-and-coming gourmet hot spot. Although we heard from friends it was nearly impossible to book on short notice, we only had a few days left in Paris and nothing to lose so we called. Lady luck smiled in our direction, allowing us to book a table for that same night. Before finalizing our reservations, the polite gentleman explained all meals at L’Astrance were “surprise” menus.

Behind an unassuming façade we were pleasantly surprised to discover an elegant small restaurant. We were swiftly whisked upstairs to a diminutive loft with two tables and a view of the ground floor and street outside. A few minutes later we were sipping an aperitif and nibbling on pre-appetizers while awaiting the arrival of our first surprise meal and matching surprise wine pairing. Dinner, made up of a series of small varied dishes, was fulfilling and unconventional yet never heavy or imposing.

The inventive dishes with unexpected ingredient combinations were fun. At the same time, staff were courteous and accommodating. More than a place to satisfy a meat and potatoes hunger, it was a place to discover new flavor pairings and celebrate special occasions. An inspired meal for foodie adventurers willing to be surprised and a welcoming setting in one of Paris’ most desirable neighborhoods made L’Astrance worth a return trip.

About The Executive Chef At the end of the meal, when almost everyone was departed, the affable chef came out. He was young looking, friendly, and full of energy. Prior to opening his restaurant six years earlier, he spent time in London, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Australia. He, and his business partner Rohat, worked with famous Arpege icon Alan Passard for several years before branching out on their own to form L’Astrance.

Chef De Cuisine Guillome Foucault

Executive Chef Pascal Barbot

Handicapped Access The first floor had no steps that we could see. Access to the restrooms was down a staircase to the basement. Access to the loft was up a second staircase.

Location On a small street near the Seine in the tony 16 arrondisement near the Passy metro station

Opened-Renovated Established in 2000

Owned And Managed Pascal Barbot and Christophe Rohat. Chef Barbot handled the kitchen and Rohat was in charge of the service staff and dining room.

Size L’Astrance was able to accommodate 25 for lunch or dinner

Type Of Restaurant French modern gastronomic cuisine

DÉCor-Ambiance The restaurnat’s décor was contemporary with clean lines and few pretensions. A mostly gray background was enlivened with wood accents and bright colored chairs. There were mirrors and a staircase leading to the loft area with additional seating and a bird’s eye view of the dining room. We loved the people watching from our perch!

Cellars Wine And Alcoholic Beverage Selection There was a limited selection of wines with an inspiring emphasis on “finds.” We chose the surprise wine pairing to match the surprise dinner and placed ourselves in the capable hands of the wine steward who did an admirable job of pairing the wines, keeping us happy and well stocked, especially at the beginning of dinner. Flavors ranged from mild for light dishes to hearty, flowery and aromatic to accompany the more savory temptations prepared by the kitchen staff.

Special Menus L’Astrance offered a lunch menu for 120 euros and a seven course dinner menu for 150 euros. We chose the wine pairing option for 250 euros with our dinner.

Specialties Foie gras marinated in vergus and Paris mushrooms and for dessert chili sorbet

Meal Prior to serving dinner, the server asked if there was anything we would not or could not eat. Having settled that, we prepared for our surprises to arrive. We started with 1998 Bellecart Saumon champagne to go with our parmesan cheese mouse amouse bouche (pre-appetizers). First, there was pumpkin yogurt, followed by foie gras and mushrooms with lemon sauce. Next they served scallops with rice with curry and rice wine and fabulous seaweed bouillon. A turbot with herb caviar and veggies accompanies by a fruity wine. Then, black truffle with celery (or was it celery with black truffles?) and parmesan cheese with an aromatic wine. Pigeon and conch with bouillon reglise and a sweet wine; pigeon, leeks and potatoes. Two types of truffle cheeses paved the way to dessert.

Dessert: A flavorful lemongrass and pepper sorbet and chocolate biscuit with banana and caramelized cookies, sabayon sauce, white chocolate and passion fruit. After dinner snacks included a jasmine flavored drink, chestnut honey financier (pastry) and fresh fruit.

Other By coincidence or design, we were seated in the cozy loft with another table of foreigners (a Japanese family). At the end guests began to smoke downstairs filling the small dining room with a rather unpleasant odor, a common occurrence in dining establishments in France. L’Astrance had one Michelin star and a number of other dining guide recognitions.

Reservations required Yes. The chef recommended guests book 2-3 months in advance dinner and 2-3 weeks in advance for lunch. Reservations were accepted by phone only.

Date Of Review January 2006

Ease Of Making Reservations Although we were able to book the same day, we later tried to reserve for another date and they were fully booked.

Reviewers Article and photos by Elena del Valle

Service Servers were agreeable. Although they seemed slightly overwhelmed at times, when they made their way to our second level cocoon they were always polite, efficient, and willing to accommodate us. They replaced wine glasses discreetly and kept their eye on our table from afar to make sure we lacked for nothing. Initially they succeeded. As the night wore on, we saw the service staff less often. It was as if the servers forgot about us and the other table in the loft. It took about 15 minutes for our check to arrive. Next time, we will insist they wait until they process our check before calling a taxi.

Would You Dine There Again-Recommend It? Yes

Contact Information

  • Address:
    • 4, rue Beethoven
    • Paris, 75016
    • France
  • Phone:
    • +33 (0)1 40 50 84 40